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Samuel Miller McDonald

I'm a geographer and author working on a book called PROGRESS about the history and future of progress, for William Collins and St. Martin's Press. My writing has appeared in The New Republic, The Guardian, Boston Review, The Baffler, Current Affairs, and elsewhere, and I have appeared in interviews and videos, which you can find below. I am an editor at The Trouble and Epilogue, a doctoral researcher at University of Oxford, and graduate of the Yale School of the Environment and College of the Atlantic.

I love trees.

Photo by Heather Milligan


No road or tracks led to this mouth in the mountainside, and though the cave looked man-made, it had no discernable reason to be there. I felt pulled in.”


I started higher education at a community college in Northern Michigan, where I'm from. 


Then I studied human ecology in Maine at College of the Atlantic, and also started a semi-ironic cover band called Project Awesome.


I completed a Master of Environmental Management at Yale's School of the Environment, and am currently writing up a PhD thesis at Oxford's School of Geography and the Environment.

Since becoming interested in climate activism in 2006, I have been involved in many marches, lobbying efforts, protests, Congressional campaigns, and helped organize activities like conferences, divestment campaigns, and carbon neutrality pushes. ​​

My work life started with a summer job washing dishes and prepping pasta at a now-defunct Italian restaurant when I was 14. I have since worked as a mail courier, groundskeeper assistant, recycled waste coordinator, retail associate, ice cream scooper, farmhand, and shepherd. 

I co-founded a sustainable, low carbon agricultural technology venture, and have worked as a volunteer coordinator at a major nonprofit. Alongside starting up some publications, I have done stints as a researcher, both at Yale and freelance, and am now working as a writer. 

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Photo by Heather Milligan


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Photo by Ray Leaning